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Cave Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Caves are fascinating forms of rock found in nature. In this lesson, learn about how caves are formed, how they were used by ancient humans, and animals that live in caves!

What is a Cave?

Has anyone ever asked you if you've been living in a cave? If they have, they probably were not being very nice! A cave is a place in the ground or in a mountain or hill that is hollowed out. So the question means maybe you aren't up on current events or styles. But don't take it personally!

Caves can be found all over the world, and there are different types. A primary cave is one that formed at the same time as the rock. The most common type of cave is a solutional cave, usually found in limestone. Caves can be found in glaciers as well, when the water melts in ways that create hollowed out areas.

Not all caves are dark and scary! This marble cave is full of beautiful rock formations and cool water.
marble cave with water

How are Caves Formed?

Caves are formed in different ways, depending on the type. The most common type, solutional caves, are formed because of groundwater that contains acid. This acid works to erode, or wear away the surrounding rock, and it creates hollowed-out spaces. Caves can be formed when rocks fracture or break. There are even caves under seas and oceans!

Caves have features called stalactites. These are pieces of rock and mineral that form from the top or ceiling of the cave. There are also pieces that rise up from cave floors, and these are called stalagmites.

This cave has both stalactite and stalagmite features.
Features inside a cave

Caves as Shelters

During primitive times, caves were used as shelters. You've more than likely seen cartoons or commercials with cavemen and cavewomen! While these images are meant to be funny, this is somewhat accurate. Caves provided protection from severe weather and also from dangerous animals. Scientists who study caves are called spelunkers. Many spelunkers have studied cave drawings that have been preserved for thousands of years. These drawings help us understand what life was like long ago.

This is a replica of a cave drawing found in the Chauvet Cave in France.
replica of cave drawing

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